Wednesday start their FA Cup campaign with a home clash against League One side MK Dons at Hillsborough in the Third Round.
Dave Jones’s men will be favourites to progress but the Dons will know they can cause a cup upset against an Owls side whose main focus this season is staying in the Championship.
Karl Robinson’s side sit sixth in League One and will be hoping to join Wednesday in the Championship next term – and they’ll be out to prove they are more than a match in Saturday’s cup tie.
Owls boss Dave Jones told the official SWFC website:
“MK Dons are a solid side, a strong team who are doing quite well.
“It`s just as important as a league game would be, though the league is the priority because people will say ‘you won`t get to a cup final`.
“But I`ve proved that one wrong, so no matter where you are you always have an opportunity to get there. I`m not a believer in taking your foot off the gas.”
Karl Robinson told the official MK Dons site:
“We almost have a full team of players who can`t play on Saturday due to injuries but we still have a team full of quality who we believe can challenge Sheffield Wednesday, it is an opportunity for the players to perform and impress.
“Even though they are having a tough time in the Championship at the moment I still see Sheffield Wednesday being a much stronger outfit this season, but we are going there in the right frame of mind. I`m looking forward to going there to try and win the game.
“They are a big team and a big club that we face, it is going to be difficult but I know the boys won`t fall short in their work-ethic.”
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Dave Jones wants to progress far in the competition, but could make several changes to his starting eleven taking into account the hectic and tiring festive period.
Jeremy Helan, on-loan from Manchester City, will definitely be missing through a one-match suspension following the controversy surrounding a failure to dismiss the midfielder for receiving two yellow cards in the draw at Huddersfield.
Defender Reda Johnson is also a doubt with a foot injury and probably won’t be risked, leaving Joe Mattock to continue at left-back.
Players such as Gary Madine, Chris O’Grady, Chris Lines and Jermaine Johnson will all be considered for a starting role after featuring mainly from the bench in recent matches.
Player to watch: Michail Antonio
Wednesday’s biggest threat. The Owls will want to progress and will not want to do so via a replay if possible, and will be relying on players of his ilk to get them through to the fourth round.
MK Dons Team News:
The Dons will arrive at Hillsborough with a host of injuries almost forcing boss Karl Robinson’s hand for his starting eleven.
A number of former Owls are likely to start in the shape of striker Ryan Lowe and midfielder Darren Potter but full-back Jon Otsemobor, a scorer in the last round for his side, has joined the club’s ever-growing injury list.
Dean Bowditch will also miss out after limping out of the Dons’ 2-1 midweek victory at Notts County while Stephen Gleeson and Luke Chadwick are also sidelined through injury.
The club have re-signed Izale McLeod recently but the striker is cup-tied, while at the time of writing the club was waiting to hear whether Zeli Ismail, who extended his loan deal from Wolves, will be eligible to feature.
Player to watch: Ryan Lowe
Lowe had a short stint at Hillsborough and will no doubt be looking forward to his return to S6 with the hope of firing his new club into the next round.
Match Facts & Stats
MK Dons: W-L-L-W-L
Wednesday wins: 3
MK Dons wins: 1
Last Time Out:
MK Dons 1-1 Wednesday
The last time the sides met was in League One almost 12 months ago when the Owls settled for a point. An unfortunate Stephen Bywater own goal gave the hosts an early lead but Gary MacKenzie also put the ball into his own goal to level things up before the half-hour.
v Hull City (A) – 12/1/13
v Wolves (H) – 19/1/13